Pace­set­ters gain dis­tance on field

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY DEAN LAW­SON

One has bro­ken away, an­other is nip­ping at its heels in sec­ond place, a third is al­most on the pace, a mid­field pelo­ton is hold­ing steady and the strag­glers have fallen off the pace.

No, it’s not a cy­cling road race – it’s a sum­mary of Hor­sham Dis­trict Foot­ball Net­ball League as teams en­ter round-10 games this week­end.

South­ern Mallee Giants are play­ing a catch-us-if-you-can game as they con­tinue to storm ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion, with Har­row-bal­moral and Jeparit-rainbow ap­pear­ing the only se­ri­ous chal­lengers to their dom­i­na­tion.

The dis­tance that sep­a­rates the Giants and much of the field will be never more ob­vi­ous than on Satur­day when the north­ern pow­er­house opens the gates at Beu­lah to wel­come Eden­hope-ap­s­ley.

Eden­hope-ap­s­ley might be rest­ing in fifth po­si­tion on the lad­der af­ter a mighty win over Pimpinio and con­tem­plat­ing se­cur­ing a fi­nals po­si­tion.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t cop a hid­ing it­self this Satur­day.

The Giants had one of their best chal­lenges for a while in a clash with Na­timuk United last week but still man­aged to win by 64 points, a 43-point first-quar­ter lead putting the re­sult be­yond doubt.

This time it was Ben Web­ster, Lou White, Leigh Ste­wart and Zac Robins who led the best-player cards and this week it might be a dif­fer­ent group – such is the depth of the Giants.

Dan Richard­son, Ja­son Rae and Lachie Mid­dle­ton led the way for Eden­hope-ap­s­ley last week and Ge­orge Walker bagged eight goals.

But can they re­pro­duce the form against such high-qual­ity op­po­nents?

Slick Har­row-bal­moral might think it has the speed to even­tu­ally top­ple the Giants but will have to wait, and in the short term must over­come a Na­timuk United side des­per­ate for suc­cess.

The Rams failed to score in the first quar­ter last week but tried valiantly through coach Sam An­son, vet­eran Si­mon Mentz and Cal­lum Cameron to get back into the game.

Sorry United, but it is go­ing to be a car­bon copy at Bal­moral on Satur­day.

The South­ern Roos toyed with Swifts last week, bound­ing home to a 118-point vic­tory as Eric Guthrie, Nick Pekin, six-goal Hugh Dou­glas and Hamish El­lis had a day out. Let’s not for­get that James Staude also kicked four goals.

Good news for the Rams is that it ap­pears it won’t take too many wins to se­cure a place in the top six, so they must per­sist.

Third-placed Jeparit-rainbow, mean­while, still pick­ing bits of Laker from its teeth af­ter a 255-point drub­bing of Tay­lors Lake, will find go­ing tougher against Kal­kee at Kal­kee.

The Storm is loom­ing as a se­ri­ous con­tender for end-of-sea­son ac­co­lades, while Hamish Ex­ell’s Kees are wan­der­ing there­abouts in the mid­dle of the pack.

The Kees fell just short of be­ing 10 goals bet­ter than No­rad­juha-quan­tong last week with the likes of Ex­ell, Matt Nield and Hugo Papst lead­ing the way as Ben Law­son and Jasper Gunn kicked eight goals be­tween them.

The Storm – well, what can you say when a team al­most kicks 40 goals and fin­ishes a game with 67 scor­ing shots to seven?

Tay­lors Lake could do lit­tle against such fire­power but can make other teams work hard and that’s what it will at­tempt to do against La­harum this week.

Swifts will also get a chance to bounce back, against No­rad­juha-quan­tong at Quan­tong and Ru­pa­nyup will get some respite from a tough sea­son against Pimpinio.

Pimpinio won’t be so lucky but, like the Lak­ers, will con­tinue to fly the flag for ded­i­cated sup­port­ers.

IN THE MIX: Kal­kee’s Jace Mon­aghan in ac­tion against No­rad­juha-quan­tong’s Lockie Wil­son.

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